continued from Attempted Coup
After the cessation of the progressives J.H Jackson began to fall into anonymity while King became the chief spokesman of race relations for Black America. The common link between Blacks living north and south was shattered. The new agenda for the civil rights era became open housing and integration. It replaced the NBC platform of social responsibility, good citizenship, and education. The convention lost its influence, and the church became far less effective. According to Dr. Christopher Reed, Professor, African American History, Roosevelt University, “The reason for the lessened; notoriety of Jackson can be traced to three points: Jackson’s conservative views, the discrediting of the NBC, and a more popular and charismatic figure on television in King. You had this charismatic figure, Martin Luther King, who happens to belong to a rival organization, the Progressive Baptist Association. The National Baptist became so riotous they had a fight, so they discredited themselves.” The hard feelings never eroded and went beyond the grave. Jackson saw his influence diminish even further, but served
longer than any NBC President, from 1953 to 1982. Following King’s assassination in 1968, despite his fierce opposition, the Chicago city council renamed the street, where Jackson’s Olivet Baptist Church is located, to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. In his final act of defiance, Jackson ordered carpenters to alter the entrance rather than recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Drive as the church address. “I never met Jackson, but something was wrong in him trying to outdo King,” says Reed, “That’s not what a church or what a Christian should have done. The address of that church was always 3101 South Park. He changed it just to spite King when it became King Drive so that didn’t endear him to a lot of people in the city of Chicago.”
Despite having written and published books, and his opposition to the most well-known civil rights activist in times past, Jackson has not garnered a footnote in history. Many would say it is because of that opposition to Martin Luther King, specifically. After his death in 1990, the statue of J. H. Jackson was removed from the church grounds. Several attempts were made to contact church officials to ask why was the statue removed, but our phone calls and visits were unanswered.
There were a lot of people that disagreed with King, not only J.H. Jackson, Thurgood Marshall, Malcolm X but a host of others. People SAVE 40% don’t realize there were a lot of other things going on that had nothing to do with integration. J. H. Jackson was among those who wanted equal protection under the law. He could not understand why someone would allow themselves to be beaten, just to be able to eat next to white people in a restaurant, it made no sense to him.” Says Suggs,
Today, following more than 40 years of integration, some of the individuals who worked for the ouster of J. H. Jackson, have since moved on to political careers, or seats on corporate boards. You can find either them or their children listed as congressmen, state senators or corporate executives for Fortune 500 Companies, amidst a back drop of black neighborhoods infested with poor schools, crime, and the largest population of incarcerated Black men ever.
There may be an attempt to erase the name of J. H. Jackson from history because of his opposition to Martin Luther King. Yet, if King’s dream is alive, so is Jackson’s reality. While Black communities across the nation celebrate King’s dream, ironically, today Black activists proclaim moral standards, better schools, and personal responsibility are the cure for the social ills that plague the Black community. One can’t help but wonder if the spirit of Joseph H. Jackson is saying, ‘I told you so’, or to quote another prominent American, “The chickens have come home to roost.”